Professor Tim Noakes shows a photograph of his library of books about the low-carb diet. Picture: Renee Moodie
Professor Tim Noakes shows a photograph of his library of books about the low-carb diet. Picture: Renee Moodie

My hearing is a unique event - Noakes

By Renee Moodie Time of article published Feb 12, 2016

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Cape Town - Professor Tim Noakes says his hearing is a unique event in the history of modern medicine.

He was speaking to a Health Professions Council of SA at his disciplinary hearing where he is defending himself against a charge of unprofessional conduct in that he gave unconventional advice on Twitter.

In 2014, Pippa Leenstra had tweeted Noakes and nutritional therapist Sally-Ann Creed, co-authors of The Real Meal Revolution, about whether it was safe for breastfeeding mothers to be on the low-carb,high-fat (LCHF) Banting diet. Noakes had replied on Twitter: “Baby doesn’t eat the dairy and cauliflower. Just very healthy high fat breast milk. Key is to ween baby on to LCHF.”

A past president of the Association for Dietetics in SA, Claire Julsing-Strydom, had lodged a complaint with the HPCSA.

On Friday Noakes outlined what he believes to the cause of obesity. The brain has a “appestat”, he says, which regulates the balance between calories in and calories out.

A failure of the apprestat caused obesity, he said.

“Why do the obese ingest too many calories? They are always hungry.

Abnormal appestat function is the first requirement for obesity and metabolic syndrome. Patients are told that they are to blame. That gluttony and sloth lead to obesity. The truth is that doctors don't know so they make patients carry the blame for their ignorance.”

Instead, Noakes said, high carbohydrate intake leads to obesity, and gluttony and sloth follow that.

He said that he gave unconventional advice because the conventional advice harms patients “That is why I am here, I won't be cowed, I am going to stand up to my profession.”

He said he felt it was his responsibility to bring this evidence to light.

He felt his thesis that insulin resistance together with the eating of a high carbohydrate diet was harmful should be taught to medical students.

The central thread of his argument was outlined in this way:

* Hypertension, heart disease, diabetes etc are symptoms but they are not the underlying disease.

* Insulin resistance is the common pathology in all these conditions.

* Insulin resistance is a benign condition but a high carb turns it into killer.

* A low carbohydrate diet is the key to prevention of these conditions.

“It is a huge huge privilege to be able to give this to you,” he said to committee chairwoman Joan Adams.

“This is a unique event in the history of modern medicine. A scientist has been charged with giving unconventional advice but what they are doing is shooting the messenger. My wife and myself are affected by this hearing but so are the people of South Africa who are not getting the truth. We have been lied to for 50 years and it is time for us to take charge of our nations' health and not be dictated to be outside forces.”

“I am proud to be able to give this message. People will ask why was Noakes victimised for telling the truth?”

* Earlier, he traced the rise of obesity in the United States, which he said has risen in US from 31 million in 1971 to 114 million in 2010.

He said this had been caused by the adoption of dietary guidelines in that country in 1977, in which the recommendation was to eat a high carbohydrate diet. These guidelines had been adopted all over the world.

“The US is most obese nation in the world - why are we taking their advice?”


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